If your prospects are "shopping" you, they're not shafting you. They're doing you a favor.

Most interior design professionals cringe at the thought of providing design ideas to prospects, only to have them take their business elsewhere.

But what "shoppers" are telling you is that you're not selling them. They're sending you a message that you are not communicating your value in a way that convinces them that they should absolutely, positively buy from you.

You should be thankful they're giving you a wake-up call. They're letting you know they don't get what you got, don't understand what makes you different, special and unique. They don't understand that because you haven't adequately informed them.

When they shop you and/or drop you, they are simply informing you that they don't view you as a priority.

Getting shopped is a sure sign you're not asking prospects enough of the right "pain" questions. A sales-savvy design professional carefully probes into the major challenges prospects face when it comes to their design project β€” and then positions himself or herself as the one most qualified to help overcome those challenges.

The "shopping" subject surfaced a while back, as I interviewed Nebraska and Iowa design professionals in preparation for a presentation to their ASID chapter. Many of them complained about getting shopped by prospects who end up buying online, or from the enormous Nebraska Furniture Mart.

The Mart, with showroom space exceeding that of several football fields, sells everything from furniture to fabrics at prices well below those the local designers could charge if they bought the items wholesale and sold them to customers.

Many designers I interviewed discussed how they're considering the idea of reducing their prices and markups, as a way to compete with the Mart. I advised them their time would be better spent attaching more value to themselves and their services as a way to stand out from the Mart, and their other competitors.

At a time when it's never been easier for prospects to buy design services and products elsewhere, the one thing they can't get elsewhere is you.

Do you say that? Do you remind prospective clients that, if they go elsewhere, they'll miss the benefits of exactly what you offer?

Next time point out that, if they shop around, they'll miss out on the benefits of exactly what you offer. Chances are they won’t get your ...

  • qualifications
  • experience
  • expertise
  • education
  • insights
  • skills
  • know-how
  • team (contractors, etc.)
  • vendors and suppliers
  • other resources
  • specialties
  • product knowledge
  • industry knowledge
  • insights about local design trends
  • commitment to customer service
  • attention to detail
  • availability
  • flexibility
  • guarantees and warranties
  • passion

There are a whole lot of ways prospects would rather spend their time than shopping around for the best interior design professional to meet their needs. You can and will get their business β€” and will likely develop lasting relationships with them β€” by spelling out your unique benefits.